Mood disorders + treatments

Information about Unipolar, Bipolar and seasonal affective disorder plus treatments.

Includes alot of the stuff you need to know but cut down into shorter descriptions etc.

Perfect for PSYB3 exam - not too sure on other examaners etc,...hope this helps

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Mood Disorders
Unipolar depression ­ Symptoms and diagnosis
This is the most common form of depression where a person experiences an extremely
depressed or sad mood state that may last for weeks or months if not treated.
5-7 % of adults suffer from unipolar depression which is similar to rates in most western
countries such as the UK, USA and Canada.
Symptoms of unipolar depression include:
Sadness, no pleasure in life, guilt, short temper ( Emotional)
Hard to sleep, headaches, lack of energy, agitated (Physiological)
Poor memory and concentration, suicidal thoughts, low self-esteem (
Withdrawal from social life, loss of interest in sex, poor hygiene (Behavioural)
With extreme unipolar depression symptoms may include hallucinations and
A clinical diagnosis of depression requires at least 5 of the above symptoms to be present
for at least 2 weeks and also requires there to have been no history of mania.
Bipolar depression ­ Symptoms and diagnosis
Bipolar depression is where the person experiences two quite different emotional states
being a period of depression which is followed by a period of mania, they experience
extreme mood swings. The depression mood is similar if not the same to Unipolar
Between 1 ­ 2% of adults suffer from Bipolar depression at any one time and the disorder
has the same rates of concordance in women and men.
Symptoms of Mania in Bipolar depression include:
Lack of feelings of guilt, euphoria, irritability if not getting own way ( Emotional)
Delusional ideas, reckless decisions, believing other people are out to get them

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High energy, increased social and sexual activity, talkative, little sleep (Behavioural
and physiological)
Diagnosis of Bipolar depression requires that both a major depressive episode and a manic
episode be present. The duration of each of these may vary for example one time they may
last for a day but another time last for a month.
Seasonal affective disorder ­ Symptoms and diagnosis
This is a mood disorder that typically occurs during the months of winter when the weather
is typically dull and overcast.…read more

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Explanations for Mood Disorders
Biological explanations
Genetics ­ Twin studies show that concordance rates for identical twins for Bipolar
depression are much higher than for dizygotic twins or other relatives. One study by Kendler
have also shown concordance rates for mood disorders being higher in women than men
however other studies show no difference and do not support this.
Biochemical factors ­ The neurotransmitters Serotonin and Norepinephrine have been
identified as being involved in both unipolar and bipolar mood disorders.…read more

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It has also been shown that when people are exposed to negative events over which they
have no control they score high on a depressive mood questionarre.
Lewinsohn offered a behavioural explanation for depression based on operant conditioning.
He argued that a loss such as splitting up with your boyfriend results in a reduction in the
amount of positive reinforcement that is experienced.…read more

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Psychodynamic explanations
How a child deals with and responds to loss and dependency in childhood sets the pattern
for how the adult responds to similar experiences later in life. Grief as a result of loss in early
childhood is often followed by feelings of rejection. Because the childs ego is highly self
centred the child interprets these feelings as resulting from something the child has done
and making them feel alone and unlovable.…read more

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Biological treatments
Drug therapy ­ There are three main categories of anti-depressant drug:
Tricyclic antidepressants- Prevents noradrenalin and serotonin being taken back into
the neuron after it has been released. The effect of this is to increase the activity
levels of these neurotransmitters.
Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)- Work by stopping the breakdown if the
monoamine oxidase chemical in the presynaptic neuron. Stopping the activity of the
MAO means the higher levels of neurotransmitters are active in the brain.…read more

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Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)- Induces a brain seizure by passing electricity through
the brain. The person is first anaesthetised and then given a muscle relaxant;
electrodes are placed on the head and an electric shock is given.
This is usually used as a last resort if the person has not responded to drug
treatment and is found to help around 50% of people treated with it. People who
have ECT experience disorientation following treatment and it can also lead to
permanent memory loss.…read more


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